Reflections on my Spring Tours


Our Spring season of wine tours culminated in a wonderful tour of Rioja at the end of June and even though I say so myself, it has been a fascinating and diverse set of trips with many expectations exceeded.

We discovered a whole new dimension to Rioja: single vineyard releases, new approaches to winemaking resulting in fresher and more vibrant wines, and several grape varieties that were most definitely not on the seen last time we visited over ten years ago.  Plus gastronomy that has moved on in leaps and bounds, though our proximity to Logroño’s Calle Laurel and its pincho bars has added further challenge to my post tour weight loss programme.  Find out more about this tour in the tour report.  

We also returned to beautiful Siena in Tuscany and updated ourselves on top class Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino and of course some Super Tuscans – also combined with gastronomic indulgent, glorious scenery and Italy’s incomparable hospitality.  More in the tour report.

Our new destinations this year were Sicily and Slovenia. Both were an absolute revelation in totally contrasting ways. 

Slovenia ticked every single box I could imagine: glorious scenery, Ljubljana was a beautiful city to stay in, fantastic quality wines, really delicious, innovative cuisine and incredibly hospitable and welcoming people.  Every day was a joy with new grapes to discover and a new lexicon of wine to understand.  Please read the tour report to find out more, I can’t recommend it highly enough

Sicily was perhaps equally unexpected, very different to Puglia and confirming yet again how wonderfully diverse Italy is. We discovered a whole continent of wine in an island, and a bunch of charming, enthusiastic people who were pioneering new (and old) grape varieties, new regions and delivering wine of such freshness and elegance that we were truly amazed.  Our Marsala masterclass was utterly brilliant, the cuisine was fabulous and it is most definitely on my return soon list – please read the tour report.

Both the Sicily and Slovenian tours were so successful that I am planning to run them again next year, my 2018 programme will be announced soon.

As always I am immensely grateful to the clients who come with me – over 100 people this Spring, some of whom came on more than one tour!  It is a great pleaseure to lead tours when the people on them are so committed to enjoying themselves, to learning about the regions and their wines from the people we meet, and to creating a great esprit de corps.  I can’t wait to get back on tour this Autumn – please check out my plans… and I hope I see you in a beautiful wine region very soon!